Who is eligible for VA Health Care?

To receive care, most veterans must be enrolled in the VA health system. Eligibility for the health system depends on a number of factors, including the nature of your discharge from military service, your length of service, whether you have service-connected disabilities, your income level, and available VA resources, among others.

To be eligible, you must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military. Your length of service may also be important. Former enlisted persons who started active duty before September 8, 1980, and former officers who first entered active duty before October 17, 1981, do not have a length-of-service requirement. Otherwise you must have 24 months of continuous active duty military service, though there are several exceptions for reservists, national guard members, service-connected disabilities, and hardship discharges, among others.

Certain veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health system to receive benefits if: you are 50 percent or more disabled from a service-connected disability, you are seeking care for a VA rated service-connected disability, or it has been less than one year since you were discharged for a disability that the military determined was caused or aggravated by your service, but the VA has not yet rated the disability.

The VA has limited resources, so if you are eligible for services, you will be assigned to a priority group. The priority groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. To see the priority list, click here. Previously, veterans assigned to priority 8 were not eligible for enrollment or care for non-service connected conditions. New regulations went into effect on June 15, 2009 that enable the VA to relax income restrictions on enrollment for health benefits. For more information, click here.

David Wingate has written a FREE HANDBOOK on Veteran’s Benefits, if you desire a copy please visit the Senior Life Care Planning’s website or email at info@seniorlcp.com, or call the Frederick Office at 301 663 9230.

Additionally, for more information and articles on VA Benefits go to our Senior LCP's Veteran's Blog

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